AUSTRALIA exported 30,687 tonnes of chickpeas in September, with Pakistan continuing its run as Australia’s biggest-volume customer by buying 16,848t, or 55 per cent, of the total, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Over the July-September quarter, Australia shipped 67,361t of chickpeas, with Pakistan on 30,144t the largest market, accounting for 45pc of all sales.
Bangladesh on 13,959t and the United Arab Emirates on 8338t, accounted for 21pc and 12pc respectively of sales, and were the second and third-biggest Australia Q3 chickpea markets.
Pulse Australia and GrainTrend director Sanjiv Dubey said volume buying from Pakistan looks set to continue at least until March-April, when its own crop will be harvested.
“Until March-April, they will continue to buy in case there is not much rain in December-January,” Mr Dubey said.
“They are all aware of the very small crop in Australia.”
Mr Dubey said the market was trading in a US$50-$70/t range, which had the market bouncing between $520 and $590/t cost and freight.
“At US$520-$530, the buyers are there, and once it gets to $580-$590, they go away.”
The breaking of the upper limit in the trading range depends on the size of the recently planted Pakistani crop.
If it comes in below expectations, the market could lift towards the middle of next year.
“I think the Australian farmer has sold a fair proportion of what has been produced, and 75-80 per cent of that has come from Central Queensland.”
Sources have said both farmers and traders are comfortable owning some tonnage not forward sold in the hope that export markets rally as far out as July.
Kyabra in demand
Delivered up-country packer prices for new-crop chickpeas are sitting at around $700 per tonne, with Kyabra chickpeas fetching a premium over other desi varieties.
Also, some traders and growers have 2017/18, 2018/19 and new-crop chickpeas to offer to the market, with Kyabra seed holding a premium of up to AU$20/t over other desi varieties.
In big production years in Australia, Kyabra is not usually segregated from other varieties because of space and logistics constraints.
However, the tiny 2019/20 winter-crop in southern Queensland and northern NSW means growers and bulk handlers can easily store and market Kyabra separately on-farm or at warehousing or packing sites.
|New South Wales||407,000||35,000||25,000|
Table 1: ABARES chickpea production figures for Australia’s two major desi-producing states.
“They are a better colour and size, and any market which is consuming chickpeas whole is paying a premium for Kyabra.”
The most significant market for whole chickpeas is Bangladesh, which consumes around 120,000-150,000t of chickpeas annually.
Myanmar is also a major supplier to Bangladesh, but its crop is planted in October-November, and therefore the off-season advantage lies with Australia.
“Domestic trade prices are at least 10 steps ahead of the international trade.
“It’s such a small crop in Australia this year, and anyone that can buy it and store it wants to keep the market rolling so the packing plants can keep running.”
Harvest of Australia’s 2019/20 desi chickpea crop is almost over, with the Queensland crop now well and truly off, and harvest in New South Wales now moving into the latest areas in the Lachlan Valley.
|Papua New Guinea||0||0||1||1|
Table 1: ABS Australian chickpea exports for July, August and September 2019.